Friday 30 April 2010

Fiction Friday #8

Here's my attempt for this week's Fiction Friday challenge on the Write Anything blog, also submitted to the Friday Flash collection. The prompt was;

“My husband doesn’t know, but he will soon.

Maddie lay on the couch by the window. One hand clutched a mug of cocoa, while the other curled around the swell of her stomach. Simone perched on the edge of the coffee table beside her.

"You're so brave, dear. Pregnancy really takes a lot out of you," she said.

She leaned forward, patting Maddie's hand. Maddie felt patronised, but forced a smile for Simone's sake.

"Women have been having babies for millenia. I'm nothing special," she replied. She shrugged.

"Oh but you are! Not every woman finds herself in your position. You're special, and very, very lucky." Simone raised her mug toward Maddie, as if toasting her.

"I suppose..." Maddie wrinkled her nose. The baby kicked; for a second, she feared it could read her mind. Would it punish her? She stroked her bump in the hope that it would calm the baby.

"If it were me, I'd feel honoured. But of course, I couldn't provide the right service," replied Simone with a sigh. She gestured at her stomach, as if Maddie could see the barren womb inside. Maddie pasted what she hoped was a sympathetic expression on her face.

"Have you told anyone else but me?" asked Simone, rushing to fill the awkward silence.

"My husband doesn't know, but he will soon," replied Maddie. "Then again, if your priest is right, then everyone will know soon."

"This is true. Armageddon is likely to cause a bit of a stir!" Simone smiled, but malice filled her brown eyes.
Maddie laughed, a weak laugh full of fear. She hugged her bump, and hoped that the growing antichrist in her belly might prefer collecting stamps to unleashing hell.

Thursday 29 April 2010

When Reality and Fiction Collide

I had a rather odd experience tonight, and I want to share it in case anyone has ever had anything similar happen to them.

I was on the tube, heading home from a most enjoyable evening, when I noticed a white postage label stuck to the corner of the briefcase belonging to the man two seats down from me. You don't normally stick labels on something as 'serious' as a briefcase, so I sneaked a second glance. The handwriting was somewhat childish, and something about it made me fish my notebook out of my bag, and start to write. I scribbled away, 'capturing' the sorts of things that always catch my eye, aware that in doing so, I was inventing a back story for this total stranger. Of course, in these situations, you never know much of what you've written is invention, and how much is intuition. Without stopping this stranger to ask them about their life, which in London would probably be the prelude to a punch in the face, you'll never know. But anyway, I digress.

Just before I got off the train, I took one last look at this stranger, and somehow managed to transpose my invented back story onto him. I actually felt so sorry for him that I almost hugged him! Had I gleaned the truth from those tiny details and actually proved I'd make a good spy, or was I being in some way sadistic in foisting an unhappy home life on somebody that I didn't know, and never would know?

Have you ever managed to confuse a back story you've created yourself with real life?

Monday 26 April 2010

New Writing Schedule

I read this post on the Write Anything blog (which you should ALL be reading!) by the very lovely Jodi Cleghorn, and it really got me thinking about my writing schedule. I've never really had one, aside from trying to write the next installment of my serial on Wednesdays, so I can post it on Fridays, but I've decided I'm going to give this scheduling lark a go.

On Mondays, I plan to have a bash at one of the many writing exercises lurking in the many books I own on writing fiction. For variety, I might try using the random photo option on Flickr as writing prompts. You may, or may not, end up seeing the results of this experiment.

On Tuesdays, I'll be redrafting my novel. At the moment, I'm doing that "reading through and scribbling on the first draft with red pen" thing, but I need to be more structured in my process. I don't really like the revision process so I tend to find I avoid it (Procrastination, thy name is Nintendo) but if I book in time for it, then I'll find myself getting it done.

Wednesday will still be my visit to Vertigo City to write the next installment. I've already written a post about the advantages of writing a web serial, although I'll also add a further comment that they're handy because sticking to a continuing story helps to eliminate the fear of the blank page.

Thursday will be my brainstorming day. I've got planned collaborations with two very talented artists, and I want to make sure I've got work sorted out at my end!! I've got lots of ideas, but I need to make the time to actually write them down and develop them. Working on my ideas is something I'm very bad at, as I usually just make things up as I go along.

Friday will be, as ever, my Friday Flash day. I like to write them on the day because I often use the Fiction Friday prompts on the Write Anything blog.

Saturday and Sunday will be my days off. After all, I need a break in order to find inspiration...